In the peaceful Bay of Rigny in Madagascar, the village of Ampondrahazo is witnessing a remarkable transition. Once marred by overfishing and habitat degradation, the marine ecosystem now revels in rejuvenated biodiversity. Here is the story of how this was achieved…

Driven by their dependency on their daily catches, fishers of the community mindlessly depleted fish stocks, while the balance of marine habitats kept suffering under human exploitation.

This is where C3 Madagascar stepped in… With the help of the Ecofish programme, the organisation embarked on a mission to revitalise the bay’s marine ecosystem. Through collaborative efforts and innovative initiatives, the fate of the coastal community and its surrounding oceanic environment began to shift.

Empowering fishers as guardians of the sea

It all started with a simple idea: empower the local fishers to become guardians of the sea. Through dedicated training and newfound skills, these people were no longer mere harvesters of the ocean’s treasures. They became data collectors, entrusted with the crucial task of safeguarding marine resources.

Now understanding the state of the marine ecosystem in their area, as well as the need for a better management of its resources, the data collectors were trained to assess the health of fish stocks, gauge the abundance of marine life, and recognise the signs of a thriving ecosystem.

Inspiring youth and women

Meanwhile, at the School EPP Ampondrahazo, the Ecofish programme has ignited a passion for marine conservation among students.

Immersed in educational experiences that went beyond textbooks and lectures, the students found themselves diving headfirst into the world of marine conservation. Equipped with the knowledge and skills, they are invited to become ambassadors for the environment.

A women’s association has also taken up the task of restoring the marine environment. Their journey began with a simple mangrove tree nursery. As they worked tirelessly to restore the mangrove forests, they found allies in the Junior Ecoguards – a group of young environmental enthusiasts, actively involved in protecting the marine environment and educating their peers and community members.

Safeguarding endangered species

Some villagers decided to become patrollers. Their mission? Undertake regular patrols and keep a vigilant eye on mangrove forests and sea turtle nesting sites to safeguard these precious habitats from harm.

Supported by the passionate Junior Ecoguards, these patrollers go beyond simply enforcing laws – they become advocates of conservation, spreading awareness about the importance of protecting these vulnerable ecosystems.

Collaborating with organisations such as MNP Nosy Hara, Conservation International, and regional government departments, communities throughout the Bay of Rigny are empowered to amplify their conservation endeavours. Together, they form an alliance, pooling their collective expertise and resources to protect their marine environment and ensure a sustainable future for all.

The village of Ampondrahazo is paving the way towards a better future, ensuring the preservation of precious marine ecosystems for generations to come.